“Fast” Eddie Clarke, the Motörhead guitarist featured on many of the band’s classic albums and a founding member of Fastway, died Wednesday. He was 67.
The group confirmed Clarke’s death on Facebook, noting that he was in the hospital for pneumonia.
“We are devastated to pass on the news we only just heard ourselves earlier tonight. Edward Allan Clarke – or as we all know and love him Fast Eddie Clarke – passed away peacefully yesterday,” the group wrote. “Fast Eddie…keep roaring, rockin’ and rollin’ up there as goddamit man, your Motörfamily would expect nothing less!!!”
“Such a shock. He will be remembered for his iconic riffs and was a true rock n roller. RIP Eddie,” wrote Phil Campbell, one of Clarke’s replacements on guitar in Motörhead.
“Oh, my fucking God, this is terrible news, the last of the three amigos,” wrote former Motörhead drummer Mikkey Dee. “I saw Eddie not too long ago and he was in great shape. So this is a complete shock. Me and Eddie always hit it off great. I was looking forward to seeing him in the UK this summer when we come around with the [Scorpions]…Now Lem and Philthy can jam with Eddie again, and if you listen carefully I’m sure you’ll hear them, so watch out!!! My thoughts go out to Eddie’s family and close ones.”
Clarke was the last surviving member of Motörhead’s classic trio, with both bassist-singer Lemmy Kilmister and drummer Phil Taylor dying in 2015. The three came together in the mid-Seventies and released their self-titled debut in 1977. Clarke would serve as Motörhead’s guitarist, and occasional singer, for the next five years as the band’s popularity grew. The band released a steady stream of albums during the late-Seventies and early-Eighties, including classics like Overkill, Ace of Spades and their live record, No Sleep ’til Hammersmith, the last of which topped the charts in the UK when it came out.
Clarke’s last album with Motörhead was 1982’s Iron Fist, after which Thin Lizzy guitarist Brian Robertson took his spot. Band tensions played a role in Clarke’s departure and the final straw for the guitarist was reportedly Motörhead’s decision to partner with the Plasmatics for an EP featuring a cover of Tammy Wynette’s “Stand by Your Man.”
After leaving Motörhead, Clarke teamed with bassist Pete Way to form a new outfit, Fastway, which released its self-titled debut in 1983. The group released a string of records throughout the Eighties, riding the popularity of heavy metal and hair metal, before splitting in the early Nineties.
Clarke released a solo album, It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over, in 1994, which notably found him reuniting with his former Mötorhead bandmate Lemmy Kilmister on “Laugh at the Devil.” Clarke would continue to record and perform over the next few decades, releasing solo records and reuniting with Fastway. His last LP, Make My Day – Back to Blues, arrived in 2014.